Trash or Treasure – Volume 12

Trash or Treasure: Volume 12 – Undercover Grandpa

Welcome to this week’s Trash or Treasure where we spend time talking about the mysteries of life: what what does it all mean? Why are we here on Earth? What is love? Baby don’t hurt me…ahem. Just kidding, we’re looking at deep Netflix find Undercover Grandpa. This film stars James Caan clearly with nothing better to do, Jessica Walter from Arrested Development and Archer fame, and a bunch of people who probably signed on to a movie because they got James Caan. The movie is about a teenager who’s girlfriend is kidnapped, so he enlists his ex-CIA grandpa to help him find her. The plot sounds interesting enough, and so let’s get started.

The film opens with some exposition which, after that last film, is pretty refreshing. We also learn that this film takes place in Canada, which we can tell because a newscast very clearly states that they’re in Ontario, Canada. I guess they did it this way so people didn’t accidentally mistake Canada for the United States, which must be an unfortunate problem to have when you’re from Canada. They continue this Canadian exposition, while we’re supposed to be paying attention to future love interest (welcome back, future love interest), as main character Jake’s history professor tells us about the Canadian troops in World War II.

By the way, this film is set in Canada.

Don’t worry, we learn that Jake really has a crush on this girl when his professor shows his drawings of future love interest off to the whole class. Oh, by the way, the history professor is also German for some reason. I would’ve passed this off, but in the next scene, Jake’s best friend does an impression of his mom using a German accent. Maybe I’m looking too into some of the details of this film, but hey, it’s not like anything has happened except for pointless exposition about how much Jake has a crush on this girl (Angie).

And who needs exposition, right? Right???

Anyways, our boy Jake asks Angie out to some party, and she says yes because this is a movie. We get a little more exposition on who the bad guy must be, and it turns out Jake can’t go to the party with Angie because there’s this super important dinner with his grandpa that night. OH NO. I will say though, James Caan does actually look like Jake’s father, so they at least did something right for this movie. We learn that grandpa is a little nuts and paranoid about all kinds of things, including TV waves and the van down the street. We also learn that grandpa invented KFC while on a PT boat, and every time someone talks to grandpa they speak loudly and slowly.

The more James Caan talks in this movie,

the more I think they didn’t give him a script.

Some events get put into motion as Jake has to drive his grandpa back to the nursing home, and can no longer take Angie to the party, but decides to meet her there, but her car breaks down right in front of the old abandoned sock factory. There’s a lot of plot motion in this section of the film, presumably because they plan on not having any plot later, if I know my bad movie tropes correctly. Luckily, Jake turns on the radio in the car to remind us that the bad guy in the film is a warlord with a bad Russian accent. One thing the film seemed to gloss over was the art of subtlety.

For example, did you know this film was set in Canada?

At this moment, grandpa (who doesn’t have a name, apparently) switches from crazy mode into intelligence officer mode. This is lucky for Jake, who decides to go along with his grandpa who he has only appeared paranoid so far. Jake slowly learns though, over the course of some incredible coincidences and boring sequences, that grandpa knows what he’s talking about and Angie has indeed been kidnapped, and that grandpa’s former intelligence agency has disavowed grandpa.

Also, we learn all the bad guys speak in garbled pretend Russian.

There’s some more questionable scenes as grandpa breaks his way out of the intelligence agency with Jake, and we see a glimpse into Angie’s situation, which is arguably worse with the Russian but not Russian bad guys. There’s even time for a Grandpa-Jake heart to heart, the kind that’s usually reserved for later in the movie. If there’s one thing, this film is blowing all of its tropes early on. Grandpa and Jake head directly to Jake’s friend Wendell, I guess because he can hack the street cameras or something? I wasn’t paying attention because I just noticed that the film keeps putting a timestamp in the bottom left corner to tell you what time of night it is.

Either that, or it’s a clock counting down until when your head explodes from mediocrity.

Lucky for us, the next film has a sprinkle of racism in it, as we meet some of Grandpa’s old intelligence buddies, and one criticizes the Japanese, Koreans, and Cubans. If I rub my eyes really hard, the characters start to look like Bo and Luke Duke from Dukes of Hazzard. There’s some shockingly bad special effects, the worst of which is expecting that Wendell can hack a 911 database from his Alienware laptop. I blame Independence Day for this, because ever since Jeff Goldblum hacked an alien mothership with an Apple, anyone believes they can do anything.

The face of a man who ruined a generation.

So, having discovered where Angie is, Grandpa, Jake, and Wendell round up Grandpa’s old unit, who all live in this one shitty little Canadian town, and formulate a plan to save Angie (because the cops have refused to help, for some reason). The plan is strange at best, and absolutely nuts at worst, and reminds me that I don’t think any of the octogenarian actors had a script at all. The film then, needing conflict, has Wendell and the old timers give up on Grandpa, just so Jake can give a rousing speech that shows how much he really loves his grandpa. Jake also says some words about how the kids these days with the tweeting and the texting and poking, because that’s the true way to an elderly person’s heart: complaining about today’s generation.

Jake then grew up to write this piece of shit.

Jake’s speech works because this movie is only 90 minutes long, not 120, and they put their ridiculous plan in action. Some explosions happen, some underwater stuff happens, and some “I’m too old for this” happens and the film takes some time to remind us that it’s only PG-13 as every time someone kills one of the bad guys, they cut away and cut back to them on the ground. At this point I realize that this movie is written for grandparents who want to live out the fantasy of being cool with their grandkids by watching this movie, instead of learning anything.

Which is also why Jake wrote this piece of shit.

Unfortunately, the AARP team gets caught except for grandpa, leading to Jake and Wendell making the dumb decision to go in after him despite grandpa’s explicit instructions not to. Luckily, the offensive Russian stereotype of a villain decides to make fun of the captured old timers before killing them, ripe with plenty of cringe worthy moments, which gives plenty of time for Wendell and Jake to come and save them from execution. The slowest gun fight and chase scene imaginable follows, we learn that the intelligence agency (obviously) has been assisting the bad guy, and there’s some plenty more painfully stupid moments from the villain.

This is where I would put a picture of the villain, but there aren’t any on Google, probably because Google knows better than to perpetuate poor stereotypes and support such an incredibly idiotic villain. Thanks Google!

They save Angie, but they’re not out of the woods as James Caan’s much younger body double fights with the villain, and Angie and Jake fight off two henchman. Oh, did I say fight off? I mean, Jake literally beats one of the henchman with a lead pipe like he’s trying to murder Mr. Brody in the conservatory. Even less believable than Jake probably killing a henchman, is the ridiculous electricity cannon that is fitted into one of the old dude’s walkers. Combined with that, every bad guy’s death is super comical and never comes at the hand of a bullet, it’s really hard to tell if this film was ever taking itself seriously.

Not a single bullet was harmed in the making of this film.

They save Angie, Jake and Angie share a kiss in front of all the elderly soldiers squad, and grandpa reunites with the head of the agency who I guess was his love interest. As someone who sees a lot of future love interests, that one really caught me off guard. Anyways, Grandpa fakes his death or some shit and runs off with the agency director, they come back and see Jake who’s living happily in a high(?) school relationship and all is well again.

He presumably went through many hours of intensive therapy
To scrub his mind of the Clue-like beating he gave that one guy.

This film, in the most unfortunate way, reminds me of The Emoji Movie. It really seems like a film made by an older generation trying to appeal to the younger generation, but without any knowledge of what the younger generation is like. That being said, the shining moments of this film were when it tried to tug on your heartstrings with all of the grandpa-grandkid love stuff, which only shined through until you remembered the plot of the film and how far down on the Netflix comedies section you had to scroll through to get there.

And let’s be honest: it was pretty far.